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Sodexo’s North American headquarters has been in Gaithersburg since 1998.

5 things: Sodexo to move North American HQ to new facility in 2024

This and Colorado voters approving a universal free school meal program are some of the stories you may have missed recently.

In this edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments affecting onsite dining.

Here’s your list for today:

  1. Sodexo to move North American HQ to new facility in 2024

Sodexo has announced that it will be moving its North American headquarters in Maryland from its current location in Gaithersburg to a 276,000 sq.ft. building currently under construction in North Bethesda, where it will occupy 52,000 sq.ft. beginning in spring 2024. The 16-story building, which includes 9,600 sq.ft. of ground level retail and a rooftop conference center, will also house the new headquarters of Choice Hotels, which will occupy 105,000 sq.ft. after it moves in in late 2023. Sodexo’s North American headquarters has been in Gaithersburg since 1998.

Read more: Food service giant Sodexo moving headquarters to North Bethesda

  1. Universal free school meal initiative passes in Colorado

Colorado voters have approved Proposition FF that will provide the state’s students with free school meals regardless of family income. The initiative will establish and fund the Healthy School Meals for All Program while boosting taxes for households with incomes higher than $300,000 by curbing state income tax deductions.

Read more: Colorado Proposition FF: Universal free meals to students is now a reality with voters largely in favor

  1. University of Iowa pilots $1,000 grants to lure student workers to dining halls

University of Iowa Housing and Dining has launched a pilot program to award new dining hall associates a $1,000 grant to increase the number of student workers on campus. Director of University Dining Jill Irvin said students will receive the bonus after working during both the fall and spring semesters. “This is a pilot program so we’re just trying it out to see if this works," she said. “We have 125 students signed up for it, so I would say it is quite successful.”

Read more: UI work grant incentivizes dining hall employment

  1. Chicago school was recently unable to feed all students due to staff shortage

Principal Rickey Harris of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago recently revealed at a local school council meeting that cafeteria staff were unable to feed all students one day because three out of the five cafeteria workers had unexpectedly called off, leaving two workers to prep and cook the school’s lunch with no backup on a rainy day when most students chose to eat in the school cafeteria rather than leaving campus. When a school is short-staffed, the district sends employees from a citywide pool, or the operations teams or the food service managers provide on-site support to ensure meals are served. It’s not known if the citywide pool was contacted to help with the one-day staff shortage at Whitney Young.

Read more: Lunch Staff Shortages Persist At CPS As One Of Its Top Schools Is Unable To Feed All Students For First Time

  1. Panera looks to expand in cities and non-traditional locations like hospitals and universities

Fast casual chain Panera Bread, long concentrated in the suburbs, is making a move into urban centers by opening two new smaller café formats in New York City, including a pickup-only Panera To-Go location with no seating in Union Square and an outlet in the Hearst Building that is 40% smaller than the average Panera café and designed toward to go-customers with dedicated shelves for rapid pickup, a digital menu, tracking screen technology with detailed order statuses and very limited seating. For 2023, the company has a pipeline of cities they want to expand in using its new formats, along with a series of non-traditional locations in places like hospitals and universities.

Read more: Panera Bread is opening its first digital and to-go stores in New York

Bonus: What’s new at NBA and NHL arenas, Part 1

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

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